Who Can Issue an Insurance Certificate?

I received a call on the IIAG Free Legal Service line (1-800-IIAG911) last week that posed an interesting question about insurance certificates.  Who can issue them?  The caller had been approached by some third-party vendors who offered to issue insurance certificates required for real estate closings in condominium complexes for which the caller had written the general property and casualty policy. 

The caller was interested in the proposal due to the significant time savings that would result if her agency did not have to issue insurance certificates every time there was a real estate closing in a complex for which the agency had written a policy.  I had never thought about this issue, but a review of the new law on insurance certificates lead me to conclude that only insurance companies or insurance agents could issue such certificates.  My conclusion was based on the definition of “Certificate of Insurance” contained in the law.  It is defined as “any document or instrument, no matter how titled or described, which is prepared or issued by an insurer or insurance producer as evidence of property or casualty insurance coverage.”  Since the law states that any “certificate of insurance” issued “in violation of this Code section shall be null and void and of no force and effect”, if the document in question was not issued by an insurer or insurance agent, it can not be a valid insurance certificate.

I have suggested to Gould Hagler, IIAG’s lobbyist, that this question should be addressed by the Insurance Commissioner in the new regulation regarding insurance certificates on which work is now being done.   I will keep you up to date on the progress of the regulation.  In the meantime, I am interested in any experience agents in Georgia may have had with third-party vendors offering to issue insurance certificates.  Please let me know what your experience has been.